The Federal Reserve’s hint at the possibility of raising interest rates was reflected in most stock markets in the Middle East, especially since the Gulf Cooperation Council countries usually follow the example of the US central bank.
Five Gulf countries peg their currencies to the dollar (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, and Bahrain), while the Kuwaiti dinar is linked to a basket of currencies that is believed to be dominated by the American currency.
The Qatari index fell 0.3 percent, affected by the decline in almost all sectors, led by financial stocks, while the stock of Qatar National Bank, the largest bank in the Gulf, fell 0.7 percent, and the stock of the Commercial Bank fell 1.3 percent.
The Kuwaiti index lost 1.6 percent, incurring losses for the seventh session in a row, with most sectors declining, while the Bahraini index rose 0.1 percent to 1,932 points.
The repercussions of the American hint to raise interest rates did not appear on the closed stock market in Saudi Arabia, as it was closed on the occasion of the Kingdom’s National Day.
Last week, the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged, in line with the expectations of markets and analysts on Wall Street.
The Fed said in a statement that it kept interest rates at a range of 5.25-5.50 percent, awaiting developments in the economy until the next meeting, at the end of next October.
Recorded interest rates are the highest since the beginning of 2001, according to historical data issued by the US Federal Reserve.
Since March 2022, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates 11 times, in an attempt to tame inflation, which recorded a 41-year peak in June 2022 at 9.1 percent, before slowing later.
Outside the Gulf region, Egypt’s leading stock index rose to a record level thanks to strong gains in fertilizer and chemical stocks.
Egypt’s leading stock index closed 0.6 percent higher, recording its highest levels ever. The index received support from Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemical Industries Company, whose shares jumped by more than seven percent to a five-month peak, in addition to the share of the Misr Fertilizer Production Company rising by 4.7 percent.
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